Referees are the most knowledgeable people on the field in terms of the laws of the game, yet, they are not given the respect they deserve
It is amazing how much people tend to judge and castigate match officials, and yet, ironically they are probably the most knowledgeable when it comes to the laws of the game.
Imagine or relive the feeling associated with being the only student with their hand up to answer the teacher’s seemingly daunting question, all the better, the feeling when your answer is the correct one. This is pretty much the feeling I get when I watch a match and have to clarify a certain aspect of the law to a fellow spectators, who would have rushed to profess blindness on the referees part.
Upon reflection, perhaps it is not so much a feeling of uncontainable glee, as awe and shock at the level of ignorance about the laws of the game. A pandemic in as far as football is concerned.
I find it a bit strange that in all the academies and coaching clinics that we have in the country, the lads are taught the basics of football and life skills, and yet some what a blind eye is cast on the laws of the game.
A limiting factor in terms of players expressing themselves completely, within the confines of the law. My argument is, if a player knows the law, he is likely to compete to his utmost with no inhibitions. Unlike an unschooled player who gets frustrated if things don’t go his way and rather resorts to uncanny and unsporting behavior.
If spectators and players would get educated on the laws of the game, I foresee a surreal drop in assaults on match officials over penalties not given, red cards shown, and possibly a cricket like etiquette towards the game would be adopted. If the fans knew better, perhaps the Brazilian referee would not have been beheaded.
Truth to tell, referees do make mistakes, but I strongly believe that they are not treated fairly by the football world.
Perhaps literacy of the law is something that won’t happen in our lifetime, but I hope it does happen someday. A choc-a-bloc full stadium with well-versed people, arguing football substance rather than publicly shunning with vitriol. The custodians of the laws of football, constructively criticizing rather than abusing.
Is it but a sweet dream? I believe not, football literacy can be achieved. For the game, for the world!!!
By: Lawrence Moyo